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Deferred school entry, move of censor date to October punishes schools and children

(2 Posts)
Lourah Mon 20-Aug-12 22:44:05

With the new school funding reform that will come into action this year children on roll for foundation stage will be counted in October, not as before January. This means that schools with a lot of deferrals will lose substantial amounts, in effect the full years funding for any deferred child.

The school that my son Timothy is going to attend from January will lose funding for 20 children, that's the equivalent of two full time teachers.

Deferral is a parental right that is part of the school admissions code, just again updated in February 2012.
This issue was brought up during consultation for the reform, so the department of education put something into place to allow an uplift in the government grant for the following year, so schools can be paid back. However this grant doesn't appear to be ring-fenced and at least our local authority, Oxfordshire, doesn't appear to have any inclination to pass this money on to individual schools. I sent an urgent email to our local school forum to get clarification, but no reply.

So that's bad for the school but also or my for my child, as he will start this really important time in his life in a seriously underfunded school. Deferrals are a legal right, so there will always be deferrals. In our area about a third of all parents defer, as the local nursery school has been rated as outstanding, and many parents like myself are from countries where schooling starts much later. Schools shouldn't be punished for parents making a decision for the best of a child, but schools will for very good reasons try to prevent parents deferring school entry if it means that all children will lose out.

I would like to start a campaign that creates awareness of this issue, and lobby for solutions:

- Foundation stages could be funded by the number of children registered for the year, rather than the children present in October.

- the uplif in the DSGrant could be ring-fenced for the specific purpose of deferrals.

The second solution is still problematic as schools would have to struggle through a deficit every year, so any ideas on how to alleviate this would be great!
Also any ideas on how to tun this rather dull and complicated matter into an effective campaign are greatly appreciated.

sephelia Mon 01-Oct-12 20:51:51

Hi Lourah,

I agree with you. The way I see it, quite a few schools/authorities have told parents in the past that they couldn't defer and would either have to take the place now or risk not getting a place in year 1. Now that quite a few cases have came to light where successful deferral appeals have came through, this reform has now came into place as a new way to force parents hands'.

Considering the Nursery Education Grant is done on a termly basis I can't see why the same can't be done with the Reception year.

Have you started an e-petition to gather support?

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